Pacific ACP Leaders Meet in Port Vila
Port Vila, Vanuatu (FSM Information Services): August 9, 2010 - On August 3, 2010, the Leaders from the Pacific section of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (PACP) countries held their 8th summit meeting at Le Lagon Resort, in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The PACP countries include the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, the Republic of Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu.
FSM was represented by Lorin Robert, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Samson Pretrick, FSM Ambassador to Fiji and Gillian Doone, Assistant Director of the Office of SBOC. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Nipake Natapei.
The PACP leaders were first presented with a status update regarding the implementation of the various Pacific Regional Indicative Programmes of the European Development Fund (EDF) currently active in the region. The 8th and 9th EDF are currently funding 9 projects which have a total investment value of more than 52 million Euros. These programs are administered by the Secretariat General of the Pacific Islands Forum (the "Secretariat"), based in Suva, Fiji.
Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Forum Secretariat, explained that three Financing Agreements had been signed in March 2010, committing a total of 21.9 million Euros to the following Pacific region projects: Deep Sea Minerals in the Pacific; Scientific Support for Management of Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries; and Development of Tuna Fisheries in the Pacific Phase II.
"We aim to commit 32 million Euros in 2010 with the remaining balance to be committed by 2012," said Mr. Slade.
The Leaders expressed their gratitude to the EU and the Secretariat for the coordination and assistance rendered to Forum Island countries in accessing and utilizing EDF funds.
The Secretariat then provided the Leaders with an update on the status of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA). Seven out of fourteen Forum Island Countries, namely Cook Island, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have announced their readiness to trade under the provisions of PICTA. Slade encouraged the remaining seven countries "to make the necessary arrangements soon for trading under the Agreement."
An Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is also currently being negotiated between the PACP and the European Union (EU). The Leaders were informed progress had been made on a number of provisions, but that the issue of fisheries remained contentious; the Leaders therefore agreed with the Parties of the Nauru Agreement (PNA)'s request to exclude fisheries from the negotiations and continue to move forward with the draft of the EPA. The Forum Secretariat is currently assisting the FSM on the development of its Market Access Offers for accessing and maintaining accessing rights to the EU market.
The EU representative, Christian Leffler, Deputy Director-General of the Directorate General for Development and Relation with ACP States, gave a presentation on the EC's commitments to the region under the Cotonou Agreement; followed by a presentation from Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Secretary General of the ACP Group of States.
The ACP Secretariat is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It is headed by an Executive Secretary-General who is responsible for implementing the Group's international policies, as well as directing and coordinating its cooperation policies. The ACP Secretariat, under the direction of the ACP Group's policy-making organs (Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government, Council of Ministers, Committee of Ambassadors), is responsible for carrying out the tasks assigned to it by the Summit of ACP Leaders, Council of Ministers, Committee of Ambassadors and the ACP Parliamentary Assembly; and for monitoring the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.
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